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Liverpool Soccer Starz Jose Reina

Liverpool Soccer Starz Jose Reina


Details: Soccerstarz Official Product

Type: Other

Price: £3.99

Jose Manuel Reina is one of the best goalkeepers on the planet. Signed by Rafael Benitez in July 2005, he soon set about smashing a collection of Anfield records. The bald-headed stopper, who goes by the nickname Pepe, certainly had the pedigree after coming through the ranks at Barcelona. Having helped lead his country to European U16 Championships glory, Reina made his Nou Camp debut aged just 18. He played 33 games for the Catalan giants in 2000-01, including two against Liverpool in the UEFA Cup semi-final. The charismatic 'keeper would later reveal how the reception he received from the Kop during the second leg was key in his decision to join the Reds. Reina, who is noted for his superb distribution, played just 11 times during the 2001-02 season, prompting a loan move to Villarreal.

The transfer was made permanent in May 2004. He went on to help Villarreal secure a Champions League spot in 2004-05 season, saving an incredible seven out of nine penalty kicks. It was to be his final deed for the club. On arriving in Merseyside, the new boy was labelled "the best goalkeeper in Spain" by Benitez. Immediately installed as top dog in the Anfield goal despite Jerzy Dudek's Istanbul heroics two months earlier, Reina's debut came in a Champions League qualifier on July 13, 2005 against TNS. A month later he won his first Spain cap in a 2-0 victory over Uruguay. What a year it was turning out to be for the young custodian. And it was to get even better on December 15 when he and his teammates kept a club record 11th successive clean sheet against Deportivo Saprissa in the World Club Championships. Reina's first season ended with an FA Cup final against West Ham, and though he made a number of errors in normal time, his habit of saving spot kicks once again made him a hero.

Three out of four of West Ham's penalties were blocked and the Cup was heading to Anfield for the seventh time. Spain coach Luis Aragones took the Liverpool man to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, though Real Madrid's Iker Casillas and Valencia's Santiago Canizares prevented him playing any part. Back on Merseyside, Reina would soon destroy another club record. His shut-out against Blackburn in April 2007 was his 28th in his first 50 league games - three more than Kop legend Ray Clemence. But there was no time to bask in his own glory, for just around the corner laid a Champions League semi-final against Chelsea. Benitez had his man between the sticks to thank when the Reds returned from the first leg at Stamford Bridge with just a one-goal deficit. The tie ultimately went to penalties, and it was no surprise when Liverpool prevailed. It was later revealed that while Reina was thwarting Arjen Robben and Geremi, thieves were ransacking his home.

Three weeks later in Athens he became only the third player to follow in his father's footsteps by appearing in a European Cup final. Unfortunately, like former Atletico Madrid stopper Miguel Reina Santos, he was on the losing side. In June 2007, Reina signed a new deal five-year deal at Liverpool. The season that followed ended without a trophy for the Reds, though our custodian had the personal honour of winning the Golden Gloves award for most clean sheets in the Premier League for the third successive year. Not that this was enough to earn him the No.1 jersey for his country in Euro 2008. Reina featured just once as Spain won their first major honour since 1964 - though the sight of him celebrating each and every goal illustrated his importance to the squad.

The maturing goalie continued to go from strength to strength over the coming seasons at Anfield and delighted fans by penning a new six-year contract in April 2010. Upon signing, he said: "It's probably the best news of my life that I'll be here for the next six years. Me and my family are really happy here. "To play for Liverpool is very special. My kids enjoy it and they have picked up the Scouse accent already. I am really proud of that. In the years ahead they will speak much more Scouse too." A month later, Kopites voted Reina our Player of the Season for 2009-10 ahead of what would be a triumphant summer. The proud Spaniard did not play a single minute as his country seized their first World Cup trophy but images which emerged from the subsequent celebrations illustrated how important he was to morale within Vicente del Bosque's squad. It was Reina who took centre stage with the microphone as the heroes were welcomed home by hoards of fans in Madrid.

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